The 4½ litre Bentley was first introduced in 1926 and had a production life of 4 years, with variations in gearbox and chassis during the period. It isn’t possible to make generalisations as to what was or wasn’t ‘standard’ equipment on a vintage Bentley chassis in any year. The customer could pick and choose more or less as he wanted , and variations on gearboxes, back axle ratios, road springs, shock absorbers and other parts abound.
GK8442 was registered on 31st January 1931 and was originally built as a saloon car.
As far as I know these are the only two photographs of the original car.
It is not by chance that we chose to buy this car; the fact that it was one of the last to be built, had a late type chassis and a heavy crank engine and a body that was was not original were all helpful attributes if we were to complete our endeavour.
Although not by chance, its selection had little to do with David or me. We have been magnificently egged on by a family friend, Brian Rivett, who is encyclopedic on the subject of cars, and vintage Bentleys in particular. Brian has been with us in spirit throughout our preparations, guiding us through the labyrinth of this particular part of the second hand car market. Many thanks are owed for his advice and enthusiasm.
And so, on the 18th April 2008 we arrived home – two excited boys in the front and Brian looking every inch the vintage car aficionado in the back. My contribution to the drive home was from the top of the drive – no gear changes required and gravity did the rest!
The preparation then began. As we didn’t know anything at all we thought a good start would be to go to France. And a very good start it was too – down through the vineyards of Bordeaux, turn left at Biarritz, along the Pyrenees and up the Rhone valley, toast our journey at Reims and home. How hard can this rallying be?